Brontė Church’s future as music venue under threat

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Brontė Church’s future as music venue under threat thumbnailThe Brontė Church which hosts the concerts hosted by Rathfriland man, Andy Peters

THE promoter of Brontė Music Club has asked the local community to show support for the unique venue. 

The appeal by Andy Peters comes as the future of the music club within Drumballyroney Church outside Rathfriland "hangs in the balance" for a number of reasons. 

A petition is available in Rathfriland for people to sign to show their support to keep the venue running.

Operated by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in partnership with Mr Peters of Frontier Promotions, the club hosts music events within the historic surrounds of the deconsecrated Bronte Church - once the pulpit for Rev Patrick Brontė, father of the famed literary sisters. 

Rathfriland man, Mr Peters spoke to The Outlook about his fears for the immediate future of what has become one of the best live venues on the island of Ireland. 

He said: "With the change in councils a lot of arts facilities are under review, and this includes the Brontė Music Club.

“This review will be completed in a number of months and whilst some maintenance work is to be carried out to the building, it is hoped that Frontier Promotions will be able to deliver a music programme once the work is completed."

He confirmed the future of the music club is uncertain for a number of reasons.

“This includes whether it is a viable operation, whether an increase of hire costs will make it prohibitive for me to use the venue and also the continued support of the music community.

“Adding to that, when you look at what events have been provided in other areas of the district such as Buskfest and some events in Solitude Park which are often free to people, it is not a big ask."

“While we have had very successful events, there have been occasions when they have been poorly attended even though the quality of the music has been great," he added.

Formed in March 2005, the music club has made major progress.

And with the acclaimed Mulligan Brothers playing at the venue last month, Mr Peters says "top quality music" is being brought from as far as North America to a lot closer to home. 

Artists such as Gretchen Peters, Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love), J D Souther, Stewboss, Brian Houston, Kimmie Rhodes, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Eliza Gilkyson and The Paperboys, to name but a few, have all graced the stage.

Mr Peters added: "For the continuation of the club, people need to come out and support it. 

“The council has a long-term lease on the building. We have got a gem in our midst and there is no other venue like it in the north of Ireland. It would be a shame to see it go away. 

“Artists want to play it on the basis of its reputation. Ten years' time and effort has been put into building its reputation."

However, Mr Peters says he is hopeful the Brontė Music Club will continue indefinitely.

The local music promoter is currently working on a full programme for the music club which can accommodate up to 90 confirmed guests.

He says this will only go ahead with approval from the council. 

Mr Peters is hopeful he will have an answer on the future of the Brontė Music Club by the end of this week.

The risk assessment is set to be completed and he is due to have an answer on the possibilities of him being able to run events at the music venue.

A petition of support will be available to sign at Once Again community shop in Rathfriland.

Mr Peters has also appealed to councillors in the local area to also show their support for the future of the Brontė.


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